My colleague Matt Stephen has raised awareness of the Microsoft Assessment and Planning tool (MAP) for customer who want to 'find' instances of SQL Server installed in their environment. Now I know of this tool as a Vista planning tool as one of Map's core benefits is to help customers asses their environment and it's readiness for new technology deployments such as Windows Vista or Office 2007. Now, given that I cover System Center I must stress that System Center Configuration Manager 2007, or even a SMS 2003 with SP3 installed will do a much more 'complete' job of inventory and assessment BUT if you don't yet have these tools deployed then MAP is a great (and FREE) start to assessing your estate.
The MAP tool actually returns a list of all software installed on a machine, it uses WMI and therefore it's agentless.
Figure 1. Three Key Functions of Microsoft Assessment and Planning
The Microsoft Assessment and Planning tool provides secure, agent-less and network-wide inventory that scales from small business to large enterprises. It collects and organizes system resources and device information from a single networked computer. Assessment tools often require users to first deploy software agents on all computers to be inventoried, but this tool does not. MAP uses technologies already available in your IT environment to perform inventory and assessments. These technologies include Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI), the Remote Registry Service, SNMP, Active Directory Domain Services, and the Computer Browser service. Assessments can be completed on the following Windows platforms:
The Microsoft Assessment and Planning Solution Accelerator performs a detailed analysis of hardware and device compatibility for migration to Windows Server 2008, Microsoft Office 2007, Microsoft Application Virtualization, and Windows Vista. The hardware assessment looks at the installed hardware and determines if migration is recommended. If it is not recommended then the reports tell you why it is not.
Device assessment looks at the devices installed on a computer and reports availability of drivers for those devices. Device assessment is provided for both Windows Server 2008 and Windows Vista migration scenarios.
For customers interested in server consolidation and virtualization through technologies such as Hyper-V or Virtual Server 2005 R2, this tool helps to gather performance metrics and generate server consolidation recommendations that identify the candidates for server virtualization and how the physical servers might be placed in a virtualized environment.
The Microsoft Assessment and Planning Solution Accelerator generates reports containing both summary and detailed assessment results for each migration scenario. The results are provided in both Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Word documents. Reports are generated for the following scenarios: